Saturday, January 31, 2009

You Really Got a Hold On Me

So last night we went from claiming that we were just going to stay in and play cards, to getting all dressed up and going out for the Study Abroad Italy welcome party at a discoteca. We took a cab because it was wayyyy too far of a walk, especially for the high heels we were all wearing. It was a lot more fun than I expected. The bars were fish tanks, and there were all different levels of platforms, and flashing lights, and a big screen tv where different people dancing would show up. Our teachers were also there, and they were a lot more crazy than they probably should have been. Francesa bought us a shot, and took it with us, and then proceeded to dance with us. Then another one of them, Luca, did karaoke with us. HAHA

We ended up getting home around one in the morning, and then I skyped with Mom and Dad and then Nick. It's much easier being able to see faces.

I slept until noon this morning, and then got up and showered and we all went to the market, where we met nick. It was such a new experience. The first level was filled with venders with meat and cheese and bread. I had to hold my breath and run up to stairs to avoid seeing all the dead carcus. gross. The upper level was fruits and veggies. We bought stuff, and everything is just so cheap. I was so thrilled because I asked some Italian man where the bread was, in Italian! It cost 80 cents for a loaf. Then we went to a cute little cafe and had lunch. There were pigeons everywhere and one definitely dove in and grabbed a bite of my omellete while I wasn't looking.

A Heart!

We came back from the market and put all our food away. Two of the girls cleaned the kitchen, while Paige and I were attached to our computers, and Nick, Emily and Amanda went to Ponte Vecchio and took the most amazing pictures. They have really nice like photography cameras and took the most beautiful artsy pictures. I'm definitely stealing them from them and getting them printed out and like blown up. Then I napped and when I woke up dinner was ready and on the table. We had pasta and pesto and bruchetta, then Emily and I did dishes.

A few of us in front of our school

We are taking it easy tonight and all sitting around and planning what trips we want to do and where we want to visit. I'm happy to know that a round trip flight to Ireland is only 67 euros. We're considering going next weekend.

And mom, I really want to go to Munich and the castles when we visit Germany when you come on spring break.

Friday, January 30, 2009

A New Life...

As excited as I was to be going to Italy, I was def. freaking out as it got closer. Once the day finally came though, I was set and ready to go. Walking through the airport, I was confident and just wanted to get there. As the plane took off, I realized that my life was about to change forever. This experience would open my eyes to a new culture and a new way of life. It did exactly that already.

As soon as we stepped off of the plane into Florence, people from our school rushed us out of the airport. We didn't even go through customs, after all that stress about needing a perfect visa and having to proclaim our medications. The bus took forever to pack, but after we all piled into it and got out onto the streets, I tried to ignore the terrible driving and just stare out of the window in amazement. I seriously don't even know why they bother putting lines in the roads. I had heard before I went that people in Italy tend not to wait in line, and kind of follow the whole first come first serve rule. Well the same goes for driving. There is no order what-so-ever. There are more vespas than any other vehicle in this country.

After being dropped off in the middle of the street somewhere and leaving our luggage on a sidewalk, we were directed to an office across from the most beautiful view I have ever seen in my entire life. I have a picture that I'll post but it doesn't even do it justice. We got our keys and cell phones and took a shuttle to our apartment, where we were also just dropped off. After taking several moments to figure out how to use the key and get inside, we pushed our way in and realized that we had easily a hundred stares to climb with our lives packed away in our suitcases. That wasn't fun at all. I love our apartment though. While it isn't the cleanest, and def. not the most modern piece of realistate, it is definitely an experience. We unpacked our stuff, and made it homey.

That night we went out to dinner with Stellas parents, and while I was uncomfortable with all the bloody meat everywhere, the pasta portions were very good. The owner came over and gave Stella and I free bottles of wine. It was only the first night, and we were already being spoiled. By the time we got home all our roommates were asleep, which was disappointing, but our lost time was made up for the next day.

They are all amazing. We are all completely different but at the same time very alike.

We also met a boy that hangs out with us all the time named Nick. It's his job to protect us and make sure nothing goes wrong. He's one of the funniest people I have ever met. The poor thing is so accident prone and within two days, somehow managed to spill an orange drink all over a girls white coat, and then head butt another girl at a discoteca, and then proceed to dance away. We cooked dinner the other night, and he brought us over dessert.

We met a cute little old Italian woman the other night, and she was soo excited to teach us all about wine and pasta and gave us all hugs and wants to teach us how to cook. Her name is Alberta, and her shop is where our dinner was bought the next evening.

Our first full day was quite a struggle, because nobody had internet yet. We walked all over the city looking for an internet cafe where we could at least check our e-mail. We found a cafe where if we bought a cappucino for 1 euro, we could have ten free minutes of internet. After us being in there and giggly, they decided to give us a card that allowed us to get 10% off every time we went in there. That night we went to our first bar, and were able to legally order drinks! Our waiter Vinny loved us, but pretended like he hated us.

I hate to admit that everyone was right about the aggressive boys. Men aren't afraid to stop in the middle of the street while they're driving to stare, or stop working from atop their ladders to shout something vulgar. Let's see, I got a "nice booty", Paige got "silicon or original?", and Stella got "I like your eyes". Lucky for Stella she got a genuine compliment. Some of the pick up lines are ridiculous though. Such as "Excuse me, Miss? You dropped something..." (when we turn around and look frantically on the ground, he proceeds to say "it is my is on the floor."

I dont know what it is about my laugh that is so original, but the first thing everybody tells me when they first meet me is that they love my laugh. Laughing is quite a common thing here. One of my favorite things, is making fun of the way Amanda says Apicius (the culinary school). She calls is Auspicious-- kind of like suspicious, but not. So now every time someone is being stupid or creepy, we tell them to stop being so auspicious. I was also made fun of for bringing up the fact that Firenze is also the name of the half horse/half man in Harry Potter.

I hope that I can come home from this trip being much more fluent in Italian. I took my placement exam yesterday and just barely creeped my way into the intermediate class. I definitely need to brush up, but I think once I get back into it, I'll be able to pick it right back up.

I love the freedom here, and I love how everything is so relaxed. I could really get used to this lifestyle. I may not have made it onto the Real World, but it certaintly feels like I'm on it. This would make an amazing television show, and already all my roommates are wondering how I'm not on that show already. I'm not sure how to take that haha. But I love it here. Everything about it...even if we have trouble with the hot water every day, so what-- we're in Florence.